Expectations? Who’s got em’?

Kiss me

Expectations have turned into somewhat of a dirty word in most circles.

We either look at why can’t we be satisfied with the present moment, as is, all the time? Or our expectations lead us to a heck of a lot of disappointment.

Let’s face it, we’re human.

Our nature as complicated and contrasting as it is, also puts us in a state of expectation, even when we are okay with this moment. Ten minutes from now, I may want to eat dinner and expect a great dinner. I want to go on a run; I expect a great run. I want a great date; can’t wait!

There’s also the category of your “expectations.” We’re always expecting something… Are you expecting what you want or what you don’t? What you get is up to you!

Now let me clarify. We don’t always control what we get or how it comes to us. And yet, there is something to how we “expect” thingschange and people to be participants.

If your expectation is that change only comes through crisis or force, then you will focus on that aspect of expectation. Believing nothing good happens for you, is a downer. It seriously hampers your mood and tude.

It sucks as a way of life. 

Expecting pain and suffering by anticipating it and unconsciously helping it along, because you believe this…makes every road you take a CHALLENGE. Even when it doesn’t have to be.

Now on the other extreme is the expectation that everything you want will come to you.

You live in this state of expectancy that when it doesn’t come, severe disappointment sets in. And when the disappointment comes, it’s not easily handled. Often, it becomes a baseball bat to beat up whomever disappointed you or to turn it inwards and beat yourself up.

When it comes to expectations, I have a few tips.

First, accept that you’re human, you have expectations. It’s easier than denying you want something, because the energy of denial causes physical and emotional distress. So, accept that you want your own kingdom.

Second, don’t live in an expectation as though it is a dream. Take action toward what you want to happen. The more you actively participate in having what you want, the more it has no choice, but to come to you.

Third, just because it happened in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. Circumstances are never exactly the same. The mind may believe it is reliving a past moment, it can, in fact, be very similar, but it is still different. Acknowledge the similarities, but look at who you are now, not back then and realize you can make a different decision leading to a different outcome.

Fourth, try to broaden an expectation. Often we can become so focused on what we expect to happen, that it comes, but doesn’t look how we wanted it to and therefore, we may feel cheated or not satisfied with the result. Open up your mind to not attach to it being a great dinner, because the food tastes so good, maybe it’s the atmosphere or your companionship that make it a “great,” meal.

Fifth, live in the moment. Yes, it is a contrast in terms of expecting and focusing on the here and now. BUT, they are actually simpatico. When I live in the present moment, I’m focused on what I am doing that will lead me toward being in the place to receive what I expect. If I keep planting the seeds “presently,” my expectation is to have a garden full of flowers.

And finally…

Sixth...deal with disappointment. It happens all the time, focus on your resilience and knowing it is not the end of the world. What can you learn? And then let it go, don’t make it part of your identity.

Enjoy….and please share any thoughts you may have on expectations!

The Pandemonium of Disappointment

Photo by jackluke

I would rather build a fairy tale sometimes than admit to the failure of a relationship. I’d rather believe in hope, than its twin brother “disappointment.”

When I was younger, I could shake it off, kick it to the side….I knew brighter days awaited me.

And as the years passed, it seemed more difficult to have things work out how I wanted them to, so to compensate and develop an attitude of non attachment to my perfect picture–I went to the other extreme.

I stopped having the outcome I wanted in my head have to look a certain way. It never needed to be my way anymore. Everyone else could be happy, and then maybe they’d never leave me or they’d think I was peachy keen!

And yet, I still hoped I would be okay. It didn’t work.

So, I searched for a middle ground through my own sense of empowerment and getting clear on what I wanted. Then the possible loss that could happen would be easier to weather. And its true in “one” sense; I know I’m no longer holding back, lying or manipulating to get my way. I’m being authentic. And that does feel better.


Sometimes it’s not okay that something doesn’t work out. Sometimes it’s just plain ol’ disappointing.

Being a force of nature in my otherworldly determination to create success from 2 sticks and quicksand, I would go headlong into something doomed to fail and fight with all my might for its very survival and “hopeful.” Why?

One of my out of control demons was driving that car, I was so caught up in achieving what should have stayed impossible, I never checked into see if I really wanted it in the first place.

Self-defeating? Wanting some reward, which doesn’t really exist?

Maybe I just needed a reminder that I’m not really destined for great things unless I break my neck by punishment and suffering first?

My demons have given up their driver’s licenses, but sometimes I still let one of them hitchhike.

I know many of us would rather not face disappointment.

It means an ending.

Even if there is a new beginning, some sort of loss has happened. And thus, we hold onto really painful situations and relationships in our lives to avoid disappointment.

Sometimes disappointment is not as bad as we anticipated, we find we did a whole dance around it for so long when we could have chucked it a long time ago.

I’m talking it doesn’t matter if it’s a job, marriage, relationship, house, car, dog, your sofa, a philosophy….whatever you are just settling for to avoid disappointment, is causing you a whole helluva lot of grief, which is unnecessary.

Some believe as martyrs that they do it for a greater good or someone else’s good.

I hate to disappoint you, but sacrificing one’s own happiness for the good of anyone else, doesn’t work. It’s a way to live in constant discomfort, resentment and pain…..you never get the medal you hoped for, which alleviates all that loss of time, vigor, happiness and peace.

It is never appreciated by anyone else, as you believe in your mind, when you sacrifice by staying in a shitty situation. And let’s be honest, you stay because you are afraid.

You are afraid of disappointment or disappointing another person.

Many of us are afraid of letting someone down.

We build a self image based on what other people believe us to be…and usually that has so little to do with who we are, it would be great to pull the plug and be YOU.

You are all flawed and f–d up! That is so awesome and inspiring!

If you stay it is a KNOWN disappointment daily, if you go it is unknown disappointment (but there’s FREEDOM to find out). And when your sense of self is fragile, a major disappointment can put you right over the edge.

It is hard to take, I know, I like to believe I handle disappointment well, but as a friend of mine recently pointed out…

I don’t deal with failure too well, because I don’t want the disappointment. Yup, my friend got it right. And I had to look inside of myself and ask “why?” What was up with my beating myself to a pulp, trying everything to not let something go, which has no hope?

There was a lot attached to that as I continue to unravel it, but at least I can see the way out of my hell. Sometimes, we have no idea why we stay at a job, relationship or anything, which is killing us, until we have no choice but to look it square in the eyes.

Life is full of disappointment and it’s full of joy.

Both are not mutually exclusive.

When you accept disappointment, you also get to experience its much more fun cousin, JOY!

And when you accept yourself, a situation, relationship, job, etc…as is and say “okay,” to disappointment….you get to see that disappointment hasn’t killed you. You may have some adjustments, sadness, grief, et al. but now you get to really live for a new adventure.

You get to do something new, which gives you an opportunity to be “real,” with yourself. To follow your heart and see where it leads and to take on disappointment as a natural part of life.

No reason to run or hide, everything once illuminated no longer has the power it once did in the dark.

What disappointments are you living in fear of seeing or experiencing? I’d love to hear the answer.


An investment in Happiness

Click Christopher Paul to see more art.

When you ask most people what they want in their life, a majority will respond with happiness as that answer.

If happiness is your “be all, end all”, what do you do to invest in your own happiness? Are your actions in alignment with happiness or do your thoughts lead you to actions, which create an investment in misery?

Happiness is more than a passing emotion or a thought which creates “joy”, it is a state of being, well-being.

When someone disappoints you, does that create a withdrawal or deficit in your happiness account? Or are you able to look at the bigger picture? If you can stop yourself from reacting to a person or a situation with punishment for disappointing you, there is an opportunity for an investment in your “happiness”.

We all make mistakes.

Sometimes trying to fulfill another’s expectations of us, we stumble and fall….our biggest fear comes true if we are a perfectionist or have any type of insecurity related to self-worth….”we have disappointed someone”. Ugh, that crushing, shaming feeling is hard to want to confront in oneself; we may run and hide or we find excuses or even blame the person we have disappointed.

When you are on either side of a disappointment, you have a chance to add a deposit to your happiness account.

When someone disappoints us, instead of making them feel worse and more defensive, why not see the humanness in how they let you down? Why not see that for “whatever” reason this person could not come through for you and its “okay”, you will survive. It may be inconvenient or create another kind of distress, but the ability to forgive and not put the whole weight of a relationship or your own feelings of being let down on a person who has disappointed you is a move away from misery.

Isn’t it a much happier place to live, if we allow others to “be” human, make mistakes and accept them anyway? It is, because in essence what you are saying is…”It is okay for me to also accept myself as I am, flawed and the world will not fall to pieces if I drop the ball too”.

Happiness is not fulfilled expectations. It has nothing to do with expectations being achieved, because once an expectation is fulfilled, we are on to the next one. We think, “What else do I need to make me happy, because I am just not quite there yet?” And in wanting an expectation fulfilled, we desire something on the outside to dictate how we feel about our own self and our life.

The expectations we place on our “self” can be enough to take all the dividends out of our happiness account. When you have a “to-do” list whether at work or home, how do you feel when you do not achieve all the items on your list? How do you feel when you do accomplish everything on the list? A momentary feeling that you are worthy? Then what? You create another list “to do” or if you didn’t finish your first list—you keep plugging away or maybe you just give up? Is a sense of well-being and happiness attached to the outcome of your list? Is there a measurement of it within tasks completed or not?

In attaching so much to what others or we accomplish, we add to the misery account. Living up to an expectation will kill off creativity, relaxation in doing and a sense of well-being. We are instead in a race or competition to not be let down.

We use our failures to beat ourselves with most of the time. This contributes to misery. Failure can contribute to happiness if we allow it too. We learn from our failures but we can also rejoice in them too. Why not celebrate being human and finding errors and disappointments to be temporary and not “life-defining, unforgiving, debilitating obstacles permanently marring your internal landscape?”

Mistakes, disappointments, expectations and anything else, which you allow to bring your celebration to a screeching halt is a choice of creating misery. Celebrate the things that don’t go smoothly, allow them…. maybe they will show you something new that you would not have noticed had everything gone “smoothly”.

Investing in happiness means becoming aware of the ways you invest in misery.

When you allow yourself to be stuck in a reaction of disappointment, rather than seeing the love or care you have for the person in front of you as a “human being”….you do yourself the same disservice. Everyone is a mirror for us and how we treat others is how we internalize and treat our own self.

Creating happiness comes through acceptance, allowance, appreciation, affection and attention.

When you are kind to others, you are kind to you. When you punish others, you punish yourself. I can always feel that “icky” feeling when I am punishing someone. Even if I get a moment of self-righteous vindication, I get to feel like shit afterwards, nothing like an anger hangover.

I am not saying that you let things slide and get taken advantage of in life. Nope not at all. You can have clear communication about what has happened, but you don’t need to own it, personalize it or make it something to beat yourself or another over the head with for any reason. Boundaries have to be clear and if something happens that disrupts, talk about it…calmly, without blame.

And if this talk is one you have to have with yourself, when you disappoint or let yourself down, then be kind. Add to the happiness factor, remember, “this too shall pass” with anything that happens to disrupt your day. Make a daily deposit in your happiness account and see what happens!!!  You get to earn interest on it, what a return!!

Painting by Christopher Paul